The Cotton Board recently held its 2020 Annual Meeting. During this virtual meeting, board members serving the Cotton Research and Promotion Program reviewed, analyzed, and voted to recommend Cotton Incorporated’s 2021 budget of $80 million to the Secretary of Agriculture. This budget recommendation reflects a decrease of over $8 million from 2020.
Even with decreased funding, the 2021 Cotton Incorporated plan and budget remains at a high level and is focused on several key, primary issues and addresses some immediate challenges in order to increase market share and restore long-term profitability to the industry. Top Program priorities include sustainability, product innovation, farm profitability, cottonseed value and lint contamination.
The Consumer Marketing Division of Cotton Incorporated will see the largest budget decrease in the 2021 plan. Cotton Incorporated CEO, Berrye Worsham, said, “Many of our research programs are less flexible in terms of stopping and restarting compared to consumer marketing programs. As such, marketing programs, particularly advertising, will experience a sharper drop than any research-related company initiatives.”
During its Business Session, The Cotton Board elected new officers to guide the Program, including Jimmy Webb Leary, Georgia, to serve as Chairman for the 2020/2021 Program year.
“It is such an honor to be elected as Chairman of The Cotton Board. I know the year ahead will have its challenges as we work through the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, we have managed our resources well the past several years and are well- positioned to help rebuild cotton’s marketing chain. The Program will have to remain flexible over the next year as threats, opportunities, and budget-related factors are more difficult to predict at this time.” Webb, a University of Georgia graduate, is the owner/operator of Harvey Jordan Farms where he grows cotton, corn, and peanuts. Webb is a past recipient of the Georgia Farmer of the Year award, former Chairman of Cotton Council International, and has served as a member on The Cotton Board since 2011.
Before passing the gavel to Webb, outgoing Chairman Jeff Posey, a cotton producer from Roby, Texas, said, "Jimmy has a long record of service to the U.S. cotton industry, and he’s done an outstanding job as our Vice Chairman over the past year. His time on The Cotton Board has been marked by his willingness to engage, his thoughtful demeanor, and his passion for the work done by the Program. I am confident he will provide strong leadership and guidance to the Program during the year ahead."
The full slate of newly elected Cotton Board officers is as follows:
- Jimmy Webb, Producer from Leary, Georgia, Chairman
- Sonja Chapman, Importer from Boonton, New Jersey, Vice Chairman
- Mark Nichols, Producer from Altus, Oklahoma, Secretary
- Akiko Inui, Importer from New York City, New York, Treasurer